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Articles Posted in Car Accidents

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck or because of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, rather than to “tough it out” and endure the pain in hopes it will go away.  If you’re lucky, the pain will go away, and you can go on with your life.  However, if you’re injured and allow a significant amount of time to pass between the car wreck and your first medical treatment, this will make it difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident.

stockfresh_9952868_patient-showing-sore-shoulder-to-doctor-at-clinic_sizeM-300x197Likewise, if you’ve been injured and a doctor prescribes treatment or refers you to a specialist for testing or treatment, it is important to follow the doctor’s orders.  If you don’t, the defendant can argue that you are aggravating your injuries, and it will be more difficult to receive payment from the negligent party for those injuries.  In the North Carolina case Holtman v. Reese, 119 N.C. App. 747, 751 (1995), the plaintiff failed to follow the doctor’s orders to avoid high impact activities like snow skiing and water skiing.  Because the plaintiff failed to follow his doctor’s orders, the court determined that the “avoidable consequence doctrine allows the jury to relieve the defendant of responsibility for the consequences of an injury to the extent that it finds that the plaintiff acted unreasonably and thereby enhanced his or her damages.”  In other words, if a doctor tells you to stop putting weight on your sprained left ankle for 6 weeks and you fracture your left ankle two weeks later at the grocery store because you failed to listen to your doctor, the defendant is not going to pay for any treatment for your fractured ankle because you could have avoided the additional injury if you followed your doctor’s advice.

Doctors Usually Document Compliance

When your attorney presents the extent of your injuries to a jury, they rely on the medical records and notes created by your doctors. Doctors are very likely to document when you fail to follow their advice because they need to track how their treatment affects your improvement.  The defendant in your case will undoubtedly use these records to show that they are not responsible for the injuries that you could have avoided if you had listened to your doctor. Continue Reading

Whiplash is a term we all have heard, but what exactly does it mean?

Whiplash is a neck injury that results from your head moving backward and then forward very fast, much like the action of the cracking of a “whip.” Whiplash is very common with a rear-end car accident. Sometimes doctors will also refer to a whiplash injury as a neck sprain or strain.

Symptoms many times include neck pain, shoulder/upper back/arm pain, loss of range of motion in your neck (meaning you can’t turn your head as far as you could before), headaches (typically starting at the base of the head) and tingling in the arms. More rare symptoms include blurred vision, ringing in the ears, irritability, sleeplessness, and memory problems.stockfresh_5272973_x-ray-image-of-neck_sizeS-219x300

If you think you might have whiplash injury or any other injury because of a car wreck, it is best to go to a doctor or hospital immediately and be examined. A big mistake many injured people make is not seeing a doctor if they are in pain. If you are in pain and do not go to a doctor, the insurance company will not believe you are in pain. The attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson are experienced in handling all types of car accident injuries, including whiplash.

When you go to the doctor because of your whiplash injury, your exam typically will include answering a series of questions regarding your symptoms and a physical exam, including the doctor touching your neck to check for swelling, tightness, and range of motion. Sometime X-rays will be taken to rule out any fractures.  Be sure to give your doctor all the information you have about your injury and symptoms, and if you don’t remember something, just say that you don’t remember.

Whiplash is often initially treated with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, pain medication, or muscle relaxers, ice or heat, and rest. If the pain is not resolved, your medical provider might recommend chiropractic care, massage, home exercises, or even physical therapy. Be sure to follow all your doctor’s advice and keep all your appointments. By missing doctor’s appointments, you are telling the doctor, and the insurance company that you don’t hurt and your injury is not important. Continue Reading

In the industry, these medical payments are called “Medpay.” Medpay is money you can get from your own insurance when you have been hurt in a car accident.  It doesn’t matter who was at fault for you to make a claim for this money, you could have been at fault, and you can still make a claim for it.  You will normally see this as an amount like $1,000.00 – $2,000.00, though some insurance companies have been known to sell people some for $10,000-50,000.  In order to get this money, propertydamagefront-300x199you have to send your carrier the bills you have received. They will then send you a check for the amount you owe or have paid, up to the amount of your coverage.  You do have to show them that you have gotten bills, meaning you can’t just call them and tell them you were hurt and they will send you a check.  Also, you can’t get the money to then get treatment; this aspect can be most frustrating as it can be hard to find the money to get the treatment you need first.  You have to have medical bills to obtain this money. Continue Reading

If the accident wasn’t my fault, why does my insurance have to pay? Why am I responsible?  We hear this all the time when clients first come to our office.  The simple answer is yes; you should give the hospital your health insurance information. It benefits you to file your health insurance for several reasons.  First of all, even if the hospital says they will file the at-fault-drivers car insurance, you still are the responsible party on that bill.  There is also a common misconception that car insurances will pay the bills as you get treatment.  This is simply not the case.  stockfresh_8864104_physiotherapist-fixing-knee-braces-on-womans-leg_sizeM-300x200The hospital or doctors offices are merely just waiting to get paid out of YOUR settlement, and until there’s a settlement, they come knocking at your door for the payment.  Because people involved in serious accidents may end up receiving treatment for months or years, these bills can languish and sometimes even go to collections. People often don’t even know the bills are owed or going to collections because they think the liability insurance pays immediately like health insurance.  But that is not the case.  You are the one responsible for those bills.

There are a few other reasons to make sure your providers have your health insurance information, beyond saving your credit.  There are laws about how hospitals can bill people, for these laws to be used to your advantage by your attorney at the end of the case, it is very important that you do a good job documenting that you at least advised the hospital that you had health insurance.  Even a simple note to yourself of when you gave them your health insurance information and who you spoke to.  If possible, even encourage them to make a copy of your card and document if they refuse.  This is helpful regardless of the type of insurance you have, private, Medicare or Medicaid.

A third reason to make sure to give providers your health insurance card is because the adjusters want you to.  If you give your health insurance information to the medical providers, your health insurance will pay a lower amount than is charged in other situations because they have agreements with providers to cut down the costs.  This, in turn, saves money for the insurance company when calculating your medical costs.  Adjusters will claim you have not “mitigated” your damages, meaning you have not done your best to cut down the medical treatment costs, and will then try and pay a smaller amount on a bill, even though, you of course still owe the WHOLE bill.  In these instances, it is very helpful for your attorney to have documentation of who you tried to give your health insurance information to.  It comes down to the simple fact that hospitals think they will get paid more by the car insurance company rather than your health insurance.  Don’t let them bully you, push them to file your health insurance.   How to best handle all your medical bills from a car wreck is very complex, but a skilled attorney can help you navigate these complicated issues. Please call us today if you have any questions.  There is no fee to discuss your injury case.

Road accident crash damaged car or wreck broken vehicle with used airbag

If you are a passenger in a car accident, it can be a confusing and stressful situation, especially if you are seriously hurt. You know the accident was not your fault, but whose insurance coverage is responsible for paying for your medical bills and other expenses you incur because of the crash?

Filing a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance

The summer months are peak vacation time. This means that more tourists are in town, and more pedestrians and cyclists can be seen on crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 54% of car accidents happen during the spring and summer months. Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities amount to about 16 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Some of the most catastrophic types of traffic accidents happen when a motorist hits a pedestrian or a bicycle. Without the protection of being in a car, a pedestrian or a cyclist can easily suffer devastating injuries in a crash.

Bike Traffic Laws

As the parent of a teenager, you likely have concerns about their ability to operate a vehicle safely when you are not in the car. Teenagers often feel that they are ready for the freedom that having a drivers’ license can give them, but parents often worry that their kids do not have the maturity, skill, or experience to protect themselves and others from harm on the roads.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take as a parent to help your teen be a safer driver. Here are some suggestions:

Step #1: Set a good example.

For your teen to be a safe driver, you should make sure to set a good example of safe driving habits. A parent who drives aggressively or impatiently, tailgates, or speeds will have a harder time convincing their teen to practice patience behind the wheel. Be a good role model for your teen!

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As a parent, selecting the right car seat is one of the most important purchases you will make for your child. Choosing the right seat for your vehicle and your child’s age and size is critical to protecting them from harm in the event of a collision.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child restraint systems saved the lives of 6,567 children from 1975-2002. A secure and properly installed car seat can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your child from harm when you are in a collision while they are in the vehicle.

The following are some helpful tips for selecting the right car seat for your child.

  1. Read Your Owner’s Manual

There are many different types of car seats on the market made by different manufacturers. Be sure to read your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out how car seats may be installed. Some vehicles have lower anchors and tethers, while others require installation using the seat belt. Continue Reading

Drunk driving-related incidents spike on Super Bowl Sunday according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and an analysis by another group reports that “states and regions with a team in the game can see drinking violations that are double or even triple the norm.”

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of every individual to make smart choices during Super Bowl parties. This means paying attention to how much alcohol you consume at parties and making safe decisions when it comes to transportation. With popular ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft operating in many areas of North Carolina and South Carolina, there is no excuse for drinking and driving. If you live in a location that doesn’t have Uber or Lyft, a taxi or a designated driver are still dependable and safe choices that should be relied upon if you plan to drink during the holidays.  The NHTSA also has a SafeRide app which identifies your location so you can get a taxi or friend to pick you up and give you a ride home.

If you are hosting a party, it is important to consider the safety of your guests and the safety of others on the road. Make sure to watch how much alcohol your guests are consuming at your event, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much and tries to drive themselves home. By letting people stay at your home or finding them a safe ride home through an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or sober ride, you can ensure the safety of your friend and countless others who are on the road.

On December 18, a federal mandate requiring the installation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on all commercial trucks went into effect.  Still, other proposed regulations designed to improve highway safety have been rolled back or are on hold.

According to a recent story on NPR, the Obama-era mandate was one of several proposed regulations that were designed to make the roads safer by preventing drivers from operating their vehicles while fatigued. The ELD mandate, specifically, requires all trucks to have ELDs, which would replace the easily altered paper logbooks that many drivers still use to track the hours they spend on the road and the hours that they spend at rest.

Some truck drivers complain that the new devices are prohibitively expensive (the devices cost about $500) and that they do not take into account the actual conditions and delays that drivers experience while on the road.

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